Got Hams?

One of the subjects of discussion is how to get more local amateurs active in the weekly radio nets here in Ukiah and Redwood Valley.  We know that there are over 150 hams licensed in the area, but compared to other areas of the county, the participation is sparse.

So, the question is, how do we encourage more local hams to join the net and perhaps even participate in other local ham radio activities and events?

We can imagine that each ham has different reasons for why they’re not active on the local net. Some might include…

  1. Got a license, but not sure why.
  2. Got a license, but never got a radio or antenna.
  3. Got some gear, but didn’t know how to set it up or work it.
  4. Got some gear, set it up, but didn’t hear anyone on the air.
  5. Only plan to use it for disaster or search/rescue.
  6. It’s for talking with family or friends exclusively.
  7. Only interested in HF, UHF, CW, SSB, TV, PSK31, Packet, etc.
  8. Only interested in technology or building gear.
  9. Doesn’t know there’s any local ham club or other activity.
  10. Doesn’t allocate any time for ham radio.
  11. No longer interested.

There are probably other reasons too.

Although some of these reasons might be “final”, most seem like they shouldn’t pose an insurmountable barrier. Many could be solved with education, help, or encouragement from other local hams.

Your thoughts on it?

  1. 2010/09/07 at 10:32 AM

    Getting people involved is difficult, the folks that are involved have many reasons for it. Ham radio by its nature is mostly technical, and primarily caters to the techie types. That being said, I know many non technical people who enjoy the hobby.

    I think the main reason is that most people don’t see any real need for it, lets face it, in the era of Internet and cell phones, it seems pointless to most people. Now for those who can see its use, say, Red cross, or other community service it can spark some interest, however what I have seen, is most of these people never use it.

    There have been lots of folks that took and passed the exams her in Ukiah over the last few years, and never ever used it. I am sure they thought it sounded like a good idea to be able to use the radio in an emergency, but without practice and actually using it, it’s simply a waste, and that’s a shame.

    I like the hobby for its technical component, I would prefer to build something just to see if I can get it to work, once that challenge is complete, I move on to something else. I have never been much of a “chatty” type and listen a lot more than anything else.

    I think the answer to getting more people involved, lies in the question “What is it that would interest them to get involved”. From there it takes effort and willingness on the individuals part to learn about the hobby. Ham radio is a self learning process, not something you can go to school for, not everyone is cut from that cloth.

    anyhow, I have rambled mindelssly for too long..
    – Cody KC6UNN

  2. Len
    2010/09/07 at 2:01 PM

    You forgot apathy !! Many hams just dont care. They are afraid they will be asked to do something like help run the club. In the past mailings have gone out and very very few have answered. Just the times I guess maybe. Hardpart is when something goes down, a bunch will come out of the woodwork to “”help””. No training or nothing and we dont know who they are. Sad. Not sure how to get them motivated. One at a time I guess. Hard to get a meeting place also without having to pay for it. Much less be able to find a time that is agreeable to most of them. Keep trying but I dont have any answer for you as the same thing of what is happening can be said for the Willits area and Fort Bragg area.

  3. 2010/09/08 at 9:34 AM

    What motivated my writing this was that Gualala, with a population of about 2,000 will have 20-30 check-ins on the net. That same night, Ukiah are will have 5-7 check-ins. While it is true that Gualala has a greater percentage of retired residents, I think Ukiah can do better. While cleaning the basement recently, I came across a 2M net log from Feb 1990 that shows we had 20 check-ins that night. So, I’m just brainstorming on how to get back to that level of involvement.

    • Chuck Heath
      2010/10/14 at 12:41 PM

      One way to gain participation is with an informative web page. Best example: Look at the Anchor Bay Amateur Radio Club offering. It’s filled with useful information. And it’s kept up-to-date too.

      Listen to their Tuesday night net at 1900 local on 145.825, neg. offset, tone 103.5 and you’ll hear the enthusiasm.

      Just my 2¢.


      • 2010/10/14 at 9:53 PM

        Hi Chuck, thanks for posting the comment. I agree… yes, that’s a good group, and a great example. BTW, I think that is the intent behind McArcs website, to link up and inform Ukiah/Mendocino hams… but correct me if I’m wrong. If you want to see more activity on that site, send them some suggestions or content… I think they are receptive to it. (And, I should add, that specific goal is not the intent of this MendoRadio website, which is aimed at local ham radio technical discussions and education.) -Carl

  4. Chuck Heath
    2010/10/16 at 4:20 PM

    I forgot to give the Anchor Bay Amateur Radio Club link. It is:


    P.S. Really enjoyed my first “parachute mobile” QSO earlier today on 146.460 simplex. Mark, AF6IM, was at about 8,000 ft. over Byron, CA when I succeeded. That’s also the Willits simplex net frequency.

    • 2010/10/16 at 11:35 PM

      No problem, and fine business on the parachute mobile.

      A note to readers: the Anchor Bay Radio Club and most other local clubs are listed in the Links tab at the top of this webpage. Let us know if we missed any.

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